- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS

So let’s put aside the fact it’s mathematically impossible for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to win the Republican nomination for president.

He’s still in the race, golly darn-it! So let’s look at his record as a candidate. Hint: It’s terrible.

The first problem is that Mr. Kasich is the ultimate political insider, but in an election year that’s punishing the establishment, he’s running as an outsider.

“I’m a change agent, and what we’re beginning to see is a lot of the establishment people, one more time, trying to stop me,” Mr. Kasich said in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday about this path forward.

But that’s not necessarily true. Mr. Kasich gladly campaigned around Ohio hand-in-hand with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and as political analyst Stuart Rothenberg points out, Mr. Kasich’s team is made up, almost entirely, of establishment insiders.

“Just don’t look behind the curtain, because if you do, you will see that Kasich’s supporters and advisers include party establishment types like consultant Charlie Black, former Minnesota congressman Vin Weber, long-time party strategist Stu Spencer, former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, former New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu and New Hampshire veteran GOP operative Tom Rath,” Mr. Rothenberg wrote in Roll Call.

A Kasich surrogate who toured the spin room after the last Republican debate in Miami was asked by a reporter what Mr. Kaisch’s plans were moving forward — if he were to win Ohio — and the surrogate shrugged.

“Well, if Marco loses Florida and we win Ohio, hopefully we’ll get all the Bush money and will be able to make decisions on where to play moving forward,” the surrogate said.

Nothing more anti-establishment than leaning on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s donors to help fuel your campaign.

Next up is Mr. Kasich’s shaky performance on the campaign trail — and numerous policy flip-flops.

In a pre-taped interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that aired over the weekend, Mr. Kasich said the next president should be allowed to nominate someone for the Supreme Court vacancy, and it should be a unifying process. Asked if he would consider President Obama’s nominee Judge Merrick Garland, Mr. Kasich said he’d think about it.

“He’s received, you know, overwhelming support, I think even from Senator Hatch, so of course we’d think about it,” Kasich said, referring to Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who supported Judge Garland before the nomination.

That same day, Mr. Kasich walked his comments back — saying he was just trying to be polite in the interview.

“In an effort to be polite today, I’ve created little bit of a situation,” Mr. Kasich said after a campaign event in St. George, Utah, on Saturday. “Look, you know, Garland is — I’m gonna have my own picks for the Supreme Court. … I’m not gonna pick somebody who’s, you know, obviously not a respecter of the Second Amendment. I don’t want people making law and so, nobody should be confused, worked up or upset. He’s not gonna be my pick for the Supreme Court.”

Confused? I know I am.

But so go Mr. Kasich’s foreign policy positions. On the campaign trail, Mr. Kasich has repeatedly said the U.S. should get out of nation-building and creating democracy’s across the world. Yet, after the Paris terror attacks, he pitched the idea of the U.S. government creating an entirely new agency to “beam messages around the world” of American liberty and values.

On the Iranian agreement, Mr. Kasich first questioned: “You’re going to rip it up, then what?”

Then he pivoted to: “I’m sort of sick to my stomach about it because … Iran’s going to get a ton of money.”

To at last saying: “If I were president, I would call them and say, I’m sorry, but we’re suspending this agreement.”

Finally! It only took him months to get there.

Republican primary voters are not stupid. Mr. Kasich lost 27 states in a row before winning his home state of Ohio. On Tuesday, Mr. Kasich again lost contests in Arizona and Utah. Maybe he’ll win Wisconsin, but with only $1.5 million cash-on-hand, zero momentum and no track record, I wouldn’t bet on it.

On Wednesday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Mr. Kasich is playing the role of “spoiler” in the GOP race, but he fell short of asking him to leave the trail.

So I will: John Kasich, it’s time for you to pack your bags and head back to Ohio.

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